Anonymous said: I'm a 16 y.o. biological female who feels like theyre in the right body sometimes and other times i just want to be a male so badly that it frustrates me, and other days i feel like nothing or anything, but i don't have any opportunities to really experiment since I'm in a household thats homophobic and transphobic. i don't know if i am genderfluid or just passing through a phase? please help!

You definitely sound genderfluid to me.  I mean, what you said is pretty much the definition.  Of course, no one can know but you.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the phase thing—I always feel like that’s a shame-inducing tool meant to keep us from exploring and experimenting with our identities, and it does much more harm than good.  It’s possible that later you won’t feel the way you do anymore, and that’s okay.  Even if that happened, it wouldn’t make what you’re feeling now invalid.

I’m sorry your living situation is like that.  Perhaps you can find ways to experiment inside your head, or secretly, or find some supportive people who are safe and won’t tell your family with whom you can figure things out?  I wish you luck.  Be safe.

-Riam

lovwemedead said: Ah, alright! Thank you for clarifying!

No probs!

-Key

lovwemedead said: Okay, I'm probably reading all of this wrong but it reads to me like the last few asks, the admin is saying that white people can't identify as non-binary. I haven't slept in four days, though, so it's quite possible that's just my own ignorance.

That’s not what I’m saying! I haven’t slept in a good while too, though, and I’m heading there myself, so I may not have been as clear as I should have been.

These asks are a conversation. I’m saying white people can’t identify as two-spirit. I’m also saying that transness, and even the word “non-binary”, are pretty Western things, and that being all “well ‘two-spirit’ is technically an English word” or “back in the day my culture had two-spirit people too” is not an excuse to use the word two-spirit as a white person.

Good luck getting rest, if you can!

-Key

Anonymous said: Key, thanks for reply (M): Agree with you on "trans" word. Think my (white/western) culture is wrong on gender concept. Medical establishment(shrinks, docs) co-opted it/us for their own profit, so gender-variant person gets put on path that costs money rather than path to enlightenment. My people were not this way before Christianity, just as yours were once different. Once upon a time, we were more like each other. Mine once had two-spirits. Would say more but ask box is too small. Thoughts?

Just to clarify: do you actually know what my heritage is? Or are you wildly guessing when you say that we were “more like each other”? (I ask this in part because I’m very aware that my looks are often read as “generic exotic brown person”, and I genuinely have no idea if you’ve read my about me or whatever or just assumed as many do.)

I am assuming you’re white, and Western-European-heritage white specifically, but I may be wrong; either way, the whole “humanity is all the same anyway” or “we were like each other” or whatever stuff tends to be really problematic. It’s this sort of stuff that excused imperialism in the first place, and that excuses people today feeling like they can understand the experiences of people vastly different to them, and condescending to dictate how marginalized groups should feel and behave.

Yours once had (and still has, really!) people who do not conform to the modern Western gender binary, no doubt. Were they culturally the same as the people who now have the right to call themselves two-spirits? No, not if you’re white, and they cannot be equated.

(Also, you can send more than one ask, if you like! Some people type out questions in some other program, then paste them part by part, numbering the parts and signing each part.)

-Key

Anonymous said: Hello, I read your Aug 12 post, "but isn’t sharing [...] thing?" I understand where you're coming from re: cultural imperialism, but don't you find irony in defending the word "two-spirit" from whites, being that it's an English(white man's language) word? :) When I use the term, it's analogue: "do you know the meaning of 'two-spirit'? I'm like that." To me, it's like using German or French words to convey thoughts we can't in English, like 'Schadenfreude' or 'je ne sais quoi'. Await reply. M

Hello M.

Very short answer: no, because so much of many indigenous and/or POC languages have been obliterated or had much of their previous depth lost through colonialism, and because English has been forced upon us as a language we must speak and a language within which we have to be comprehensible, even in terms of concepts that do not stem from a cultural origin that aligns with the English language.

Basically, it’s not ironic. It’s just really fucked up that this is all we have left to defend, really. It’s really messed up that I have to use the word “trans” to describe myself because my disconnect from cultural support and identities and resources and anything but white gender variance is 100% the fault of colonialism, and “trans” is a Western word for a Western gender concept.

Also, to be clear: the particular way in which English consumes and borrows words from non-European languages is often imperialist and assimilative. When words are borrowed from French, there’s a very different dynamic at play there: it’s less consumptive, more actual sharing. English’s status as a diverse language with a lot of loanwords is courtesy of imperialism, at least where it involves loanwords from languages and peoples who’ve been colonized by the British.

-Key

Anonymous said: im a bio female genderfluid person,and i feel like a girl 2/3 of the time, but when i dont things go downhill. im thinking about going on t for a few months later in life (im 15) to get a more gender neutral body, but when i feel cis what if ill regret it? I like my boobs almost no matter what gender i feel like,but i often want wider shoulders and a overall guyish figure.i want to look guyish enough where i can dress pretty feminine, but have people assume im not a girl. Help? Thank you! :)

I can’t make that decision for you, and I don’t know if you’ll regret it.  But I think you should take your time with the decision, and trust yourself.  (That’s probably useless, right?  Which part of yourself should you trust?)  I think you should take note each time you feel like a girl and imagine how you’d feel at that moment with your body having been affected by testosterone.  Do more research.  Imagine yourself in various situations while on/or after T.  Weigh your current discomfort over any future discomfort that might result, to see which you think would be worse.  Try coming up with ways to deal with and minimize that potential future discomfort.

Keep in mind that T will quickly redistribute your body fat—make you more straight-up-and-down rather than curvy—but that change will reverse when you stop T.  Changes in bone structure are permanent, but often take longer.  Also that there are a lot of different changes and you can’t pick and choose between them.

One thing to consider is a low dose—you get all the same changes, but much slower, so you have more time to consider how you feel about each change and decide if/when you want to stop it before it goes any farther.

If you want to talk to a dfab genderfluid person who’s been temporarily on T, (stopped after 6 months, is very happy with the results, and is almost always read as male), feel free to come ask me stuff. Or other people, if anyone else wants to volunteer.

Good luck, whatever you decide!

-Riam

koreanmermaidpuke replied to your post: circumlocutionists replied to your pos…

It’s probably better to point it out so long as you’re being kind about it. Learn from mistakes and all that.

That only really makes sense from the point of view that presumes that this is about people persistently spelling things wrong because they are making a mistake, though?

Some people just can’t spell consistently, don’t have the energy to correct typos, or otherwise have issues that aren’t fixed by pointing things out. People pointing out that I’m stimming just makes me feel shit about it and try to stop doing it when actually not doing it takes a huge toll on me mentally, for example. I get that this is somewhat different, but I’m not here to judge anybody for not spending some acceptable amount of energy on spelling and grammar.

-Key

Anonymous said: I wanted to thank you and your followers for the help re: demi-girl/woman/lady/femme. Tho pointing out that most of the people exploring their gender are teenagers was... well, at the very least very off putting for me. I hope I'm welcome here but if this is specifically for younger people I should probably not bother.

You are welcome here! It’s definitely not specifically for younger people, and I know a lot of people in their fifties who’re non-binary, actually.

But that doesn’t mean that this sort of space doesn’t still tend to be teenager-dominated, if only because we’re more likely to question our genders and also because Tumblr is very much heavily used by this particular demographic. That would be why some words seem more commonly used than others, is all. 

For complete disclosure: I’m a teenager. I self-identify as “kid” instead of “man” or “woman” or “boy” or “girl”, and probably will continue to do so for a good little bit. I stop being a teenager in just under a year, actually, if turning twenty is the boundary. If that makes you uncomfortable, I can’t really do anything about that, but I do try to make this an age-inclusive space, and that means anyone who can ask us stuff is welcome to ask us stuff.

-Key

circumlocutionists said: seriously though i am so sorry. that was a shit thing to say and i'm autistic but i don't struggle (is that the right word or is that condescending fuck) with spelling so again i am so, so sorry

I honestly don’t know if that’s condescending, so I can’t say, but thanks for the apology.

And really, it’s okay. I was a massive asshole about grammar until like this year, and it took me a while to sit down and work out that my insecurities about my own English (being that I’m both very particular about linguistic patterns and also incredibly self-conscious as a migrant from an Asian country who is super insecure about seeming “non-native”, as silly as that is) didn’t mean I had to project that onto other people. We all learn as we go along.

-Key

A Linguist On the Story of Gendered Pronouns

Very very long article with multilingual options for various genders:

http://the-toast.net/2014/06/02/a-linguist-gendered-pronouns/view-all/

drakishgodempress said: Tip for people wanting to get binders and stuff from online shops: ask for a Visa giftcard for your birthday or another holiday, but get yourself something else that you can show your folks when they ask what you buy.

Thanks!

Anonymous said: Is it possible to be gender fluid and not know exactly what your gender is at any given moment? And is it possible to accidentally misgender yourself?

Both those things are entirely possible.  And common.

1. Gender is confusing!  Even temporary fragments of gender are confusing, or maybe more confusing.  There are plenty of people who never figure their genders out their whole lives, and you only have minutes/hours/days/weeks/months to figure it out!  Don’t worry about it.  I’d focus more on figuring out what you need to do to feel all right.

2.  Happens all the time.  You have a whole lifetime of programming to get past, of people calling you and you calling yourself a certain set of words.  Now you have more self-knowledge and self-acceptance, but that doesn’t mean all that programming is suddenly reversed.  In large part, it’s about breaking a habit.  It doesn’t mean you’re wrong about your gender or anything like that.

Don’t worry, you’re okay.

-Riam